Erehwon Center for the Arts celebrated the end of the holiday season with a festive Russian Cultural Night with no less than the Ambassador to the Philippines of the Russian Federation Marat Pavlov and his wife, Madame Irina Pavlova, as guests of honor, along with Cultural Attache Nina Prakapovich.

This is the second time for Erehwon to host Russian officials.  The last time was in December 2017, when Vladivostok-based dancers VIKHR performed at Erehwon.  This year, Erehwon reciprocated this gesture of hospitality through a cultural night focused on Russian songs and dances performed by Filipino talents.

In his welcome remarks at the 2021 Cultural Night, Erehwon Art Foundation president Jesus Varela, said that, during this time of pandemic, Erehwon is doubling its objectives to promote the arts, as human creative skills and imagination should never be hampered. The center is honored to have had, as its special guests, diplomats from the nation that has been recognized as a foremost proponent and pillar in the world of arts.

Erehwon has been dubbed as the cultural center for the masses, which has participated in cultural exchanges for many of its artists, and hosted those from other countries as well.

In his response, Ambassador Pavlov observed that events like this are opportunities to let us know the richness of our culture. It is an admission that music is universal, and that promoting diplomacy through music and arts is the best way of establishing cultural relations, and is a great sign of human respect and admiration.

This cross-cultural event is also timely because December 28 marks the 30th year when the Philippines formally recognized the Russian Federation in its bilateral agreements. The Philippines and the Russian Federation have since enjoyed cordial and expanding relations.

The visit of the honorable ambassador was an opportunity to show off the talents of the Erehwon Arts Council members in music and dance, as well as an occasion to show its artworks on permanent display at its galleries.  The performances took place amidst the dramatic backdrop of the mural of Pablo Baen Santos.

Guests included Dr. Milton Amayun, president of the Yuchengco Center; Mr. Chris Millado, artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines; Ms. June Dalisay, art restorer and Erehwon co-founder; Erehwon trustee Jasper Viloria who is also Rockspeed Managing Director, Atty. Samuel Torres, corporate secretary of the Yuchengco Group of companies, former Budget Undersecretary Agnes Bailen, and sculptor Al Giroy.

The event started off with the rendering of the national anthem of the Philippines, Lupang Hinirang, and the state anthem of the Russian Federation, Gosudarstvenny Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii, by the Erehwon Youth Rondalla, who also played Korobeiniki, a 19th century Russian folk song that tells the story of a meeting between a peddler and a girl, describing their haggling over goods in a metaphor for courtship.

This was followed by the rousing dancing of Tinikling, with guest participation, and the La Jota Moncadenia, by the Erehwon Dance Company.

The PASIPO Vocal Ensemble, a Philippine operatic group of tenors and sopranos, completed the serenade of Russian songs with their melodious renditions of:  “K nej”(To Her) by Glinka, “Zdes’ khorosho” (How Fair this Spot) by Rachmaninoff, “Minula strast” (The Passion Has Passed) Op. 46 no. 5 by Tchaikovsky, “S podruzhkami po yagodu khodit” (To Go to Pick Berries in the Woods) from the Snow Maiden, opera by Rimsky-korsakov, “Niet, tolko tot kto znal” (None but a Lonely Heart) Op. 6 no. 6 by Tchaikovsky, and “Brothers in the darkness, we are not able to find our enemy” from the opera, “A Life of a Tsar,” by Glinka.